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LAmom

HELP. My 9yo failed this school year...

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A little update--  I have to still reread some posts (as things were being posted while I was away and didn't read them all).  But, I did order CLE 3 math for my son.  We started the first light unit this week.  He actually is excited about it and loves the speed drills, etc.  I thought he would fly through it without any problems, but there are things we didn't study in MM3 and he also is having a bit of a hard time remembering his subtraction.  This all confirms my decision to start with CLE 3 and not 4.  We will work through it and then move onto 4 when we get there, not worrying about it being the middle of his 4th grade year.  :)  I'm having issues giving up MM because I like the conceptual math that is taught.  Oh well.  Maybe he will be ready for it in 5th grade.

 

Honestly, autism is not something I am concerned about.  If anything, he may have other learning disabilities but it seems that other things that posters mentioned are more likely--- it is me, inconsistency, needing to slow down, work 1:1, etc.  He does well when I sit with him and go through things with him.  I was sending him off to another room (thinking the quiet room would help him focus) and that seems to have not worked out for us.  He needs a quiet room with me in it!  I don't know how to structure that for next school year but hopefully I will figure something out.  

 

I guess I am staying with R&S English since it does repeat and build on what he learned (or didn't) in 3rd grade.  I am also hoping R&S spelling is enough for him.  I am not sure if that is the right spelling program for him.  I also have a copy of Writing Strands 3 which seems to better suit him than CAP W&R right now.  I will try that out.

 

I do hope for great leaps by the end of 4th grade.  I know once the school year starts I will feel a bit of pressure "getting him up to speed" but I will try to fight against that and work at his pace, with lots of encouragement.  I also asked my husband to help out with things like having him read aloud.  I don't know if he will learn any history this year, but I will stay focused on the basics.  He already told me he doesn't like TOG (because of the lit sheets) but I will try to keep it light for him.  Maybe focusing in on geography and fun facts about people.  

 

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For history I agree do geography, some autobiographies maybe, some videos, maybe let him pick a particular person or time period to do a bit of study on (my kids griped at that then ended up really loving it).  Maybe do some local history and take a field trip or two...lots of ways to incorporate history without using a curriculum or it taking up a ton of time.  Keeping it light and fun while you focus on the other works fine at this age IMHO.  My DD13 hates history so I have done a lot to make it more interesting but we keep it fairly light most of the time so she stays interested while we work on remediation in other areas.  

 

Another idea, if religious content is o.k. you might look at Veritas Press Self-Paced history courses.  They can be done relatively independently although I read all the recommended readings out loud with my son and I sit nearby doing my own thing while he goes through the lessons in case he runs into something he has trouble with and so we can discuss afterwords.  Works great.

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By R&S, do you mean Rod and Staff for English? If so, it's sooo boring. Just awful. My kids hated it. If it didn't work for him last year, I sure wouldn't recommend repeating it for another year!

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I am glad you have found something else to try. I hope it works for you both.

 

If you're up in the air on history we are trying out Elemental History this year and so far I like it. You can add/subtract stuff as you see fit. For example, I enjoy the state study part included but I think some people drop that. For me it's a convenient way to tie in geography. http://elementalhistory.com. We won't be doing all the suggested reading, though.

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By R&S, do you mean Rod and Staff for English? If so, it's sooo boring. Just awful. My kids hated it. If it didn't work for him last year, I sure wouldn't recommend repeating it for another year!

 

For folks who prefer textbooks, I'd recommend R&S over almost any other. But for folks who don't, yeah, it's painful, lol, and I sure wouldn't recommend repeating *anything* that wasn't successful before.

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I really believe you have to do what feels right for you and your family, but I just wanted to offer one more perspective that letting the child go at his own pace at this age is not dropping the bar.  He just turned nine, and that is a very little boy.  I would not be worried about what he is going to be able to do in 8th grade.  That is five years away, and sooo much time and development between now and then.  Trust me, he will be in 8th grade before you know it, and you will look back to now and think, wow, he was so little.  And then he will be a senior, and you will look back to 8th grade and think the same thing again.  I think our greatest gift in homeschooling, especially during these younger years, is that we get to spend our days with our children, connecting with them, watching them develop a love of learning, and just relishing that sense of wonder and discovery that comes so naturally to them at this age.  I would say, just don't give up on that.  In the absence of learning disabilities or other medical conditions, he will get it with time.  And you could spend days and weeks trying to get him to understand and remember how to do long division, or you could back off and wait until he is ready to understand it, and then learn it in a few hours.  Not being ready for something at 9 doesn't imply anything about their intelligence or future potential.  Good luck!

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To compare - our almost 9 yo just finished 2nd grade and is a year or more away from being able to do most of what you are describing.  I'm not panicking and I don't think you should either.  It doesn't help anything to panic.

 

Our 11 was extremely behind in both math and reading.  In one summer (after 4th) I believe he gained 2-3 grade levels in reading, going from struggling with short passages to literally reading novels, and now he is a kid who always has a novel going and I have to keep getting him books he is asking for.  In this spring of this last year (5th) he has gone from struggling mightily with a good portion of grade 3 math (per ALEKS) to only three months later, finishing levels 3, 4, and 5, and is now working ahead in the 6th grade material.  

 

Call the grade whatever you need to call it.  Meet him where he is at, at the level of his challenge but not too frustrating.  Help him achieve and enjoy success with small incremental steps.  Keep building.  I really believe that confidence with the skills of lower level work is the foundation needed for the higher level work.  I think many kids are rushed into work at levels they are not ready for because the schools are in such a hurry.  We have the freedom to give them the time they really need to get a strong foundation built before moving on.  Our son spent 2.5 academic years doing grade 3 math.  And once he was solid with it, he caught himself up to the beginning of 6th grade math in four months. 

 

If you are worried about LD issues, you can have testing done.  We did for our oldest, no school involved.  It was helpful and gave me a lot of insight, but I am oh so glad it did not result in a bunch of overly complicated entanglements with a school.  He's making progress in the asynchronous, surging way that is normal for him, and he's doing just fine.  I believe our younger one will also do just fine.

 

I know it's hard not to worry when your child's skills do not line up to what the state standards say.  But in truth I believe a lot of the kids in the schools are not working at those levels either, but the schools have to make it look and sound like they are.  A year ago I had three kids stay with us for part of a week.  I saw their homework. At that point, a lot of my panic over my own kids being "behind" evaporated.  I will just keep meeting our kids where they are, working hard, and building their skills each day. 

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By R&S, do you mean Rod and Staff for English? If so, it's sooo boring. Just awful. My kids hated it. If it didn't work for him last year, I sure wouldn't recommend repeating it for another year!

 

 

Yes, Rod and Staff English.  My older dd is tolerating it and doing well.  But, what would you recommend then for this 9yo?  

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Does anyone recommend Apples and Pears Spelling or do you think Rod and Staff Spelling will help a terrible speller? I don't want to use AAS.  I also have read that perhaps Sequential Spelling would help him.

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I'm not sure I'd do formal grammar with a child who wasn't reading well yet. Once you get him reading, you can jump back into Rod and Staff (since I assume you'll have it for his older sister) but at this point I'd put more energy into learning to read.

 

Rod and Staff does not have to be done at "grade level" to give your child an excellent English education.

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I've heard good things about Spelling Power.  I would not put too much focus on spelling at the moment, if it were me.  I really think being immersed in language and words builds good spellers, again in the absence of any learning challenges.   And I think that, after what you describe, I would really want him to feel successful and empowered right now.

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  He just turned nine, and that is a very little boy.  I would not be worried about what he is going to be able to do in 8th grade.  That is five years away, and sooo much time and development between now and then.  Trust me, he will be in 8th grade before you know it, and you will look back to now and think, wow, he was so little.  And then he will be a senior, and you will look back to 8th grade and think the same thing again. 

 

I just graduated my first child. Grantmom has wise words.

 

What about doing FLL3 and WWE3? For spelling, maybe Spelling You See (from the same people as Math U See). Or if your ds is a strong auditory learner, Phonetic Zoo is great for auditory kids. It just doesn't make sense to me, to repeat a curriculum that didn't work. Maybe he just needs the information presented in a new way, KWIM?

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I have an autistic daughter going into 4th grade.  She is ahead in some areas and behind in others.  No big.  She is 2E (twice exceptional) and is a gifted student with dysgraphia (like  dyslexia but with writing, not reading) and is behind in all writing things.  She did really really well with FLL.  She is reading at an eighth grade level but needed really gentle grammar instruction.  The grammar lessons were short and simple with lots of repeating of past concepts.  I am surprised that more people don't use it.  We are moving on to MCT and sentence island but staying with WWE for writing practice.  I also recommend WWE.  It is a great program.  I also did lots of 1 on 1 instruction and kept a jar of jelly beans or m&ms for rewarding the smallest victories.  ADD runs on the same spectrum as autism so I thought my experiences might be helpful.  WWE does a lot of copywork and narration.  It helped with retention and handwriting soooooo much and the excerpts SWB chose to use are fantastic.  Again, check out FLL.  In my opinion it is a curriculum that could work for many grades.  Good luck!

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